I knew I wanted to do my PL digitally this year, since I’ve fallen in love with digital scrapbooking (and since my photo printer is totally dead!), but when I started experimenting with it last year I had some trouble adapting the traditional PL layout (basically a 12×12 page with a top row of 2 4×6 photos, middle row of 4 3×4 journal cards, bottom row of 2 4×6 photos) to a digital form. When you’re not slipping photos into physical plastic pocket protectors in a binder, you have to think about things like what the background will be and if you want borders or shadows or frames, etc. around each photo and journal card. I tried different things but none looked right to me. There are digital page protectors, for example, but they washed out my photos, made me have to shrink down my photos to fit in them, and looked a little messy to me when I tried to use them, although I have liked the look when other people have designed layouts using them.
Then I came across Kimberly Kalil, who blogs her Project Life pages on her blog, This Kalil Life. She is a genius, as far as I am concerned. She totally cracked the digital-PL code and solved all my dilemmas. She uses a patterned or richly textured paper (nothing too busy or garish) as the background in a color that coordinates with the rest of the materials she uses. Then she puts colored borders – just a simple stroke border in some coordinated color – around each photo and journal card spot. Sometimes she also adds a slight shadow for these elements, other times she lets them look “flat” on the page. She also has great design sense in how she puts all the other pieces together, element decorations and tape and so on. I think it’s that magical stroke border that pulls it all together. To my eye, at least, the pages go from a messy assortment of stuff that looks sort of haphazardly “glued” onto a page to a pulled-together layout.
I’m still pretty new at scrapbooking with any kind of ornamentation or creativity (all I’ve ever done is Project Life and I’m used to just slipping my pics and premade journal cards into those plastic page protectors). So I decided as a learning exercise I would try completely scraplifting one of Kimberly’s PL layouts. I would try to match up what I did with my material (which obviously would be different than hers in terms of words and photos) with what she had done with hers. I thought would be a great way to learn new techniques and get a feel for laying out a page the way she does. I had already been working on the idea of making a “homemade PL kit” (journal cards and so on) from the gorgeous free kit Storyteller, so when I came across a Kalil layout using that very kit, I knew that would be the layout to try!
So take a look at Kimberly’s pages and you can compare to see how I did as a design-newbie copycat: http://www.kimberlykalil.com/2012/12/project-life-im-on-roll.html. These layouts are made with deepest gratitude to Kimberly Kalil for the invaluable inspiration and lessons her work has taught me.